High End By Oz: Thrax Trio Plus Verity and Vitus = Bliss

Given the legendary status of 300B tube-based amplification, this blog may surprise you. But in all my years at audio shows, I cannot recall more than one or two instances when I've been treated to a 300B-based product. If I'm wrong, then it's safe to say that those products did not leave a lasting impression. Since none of my audiophile buddies owns 300B-based electronics, that renders me, at this late stage of life, a 300B virgin.

Which made my half hour in the room sponsored by Oz Turan's High End By Oz even more enlightening. Admittedly, a half hour is a long time to spend in a room when you're covering a show solo. But after Oz told me about the system, he made it impossible to leave.

First, some facts. Power was supplied by Thrax Audio Spartacus 300B mono amplifiers ($97,500/pair) which have six 300Bs per channel and output 50W in triode class-A into 8 ohms. Preamp was the Thrax Audio Libra 300B ($67,000) with outboard power supply. Speakers were Verity Audio Sarastro MkII ($65,000/pair). A Vitus Audio SCD 25 MkII ($26,400) served as a transport only. Cabling was Ansuz C2, and racks Hifistay Mythology ($4900/tier). More on the DAC below.

Knowing who he was dealing with, Oz didn't put on Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, or, God help us all, that Danish language version of "O Holy Night." Instead, he grabbed Linus Roth's 2014 Challenge Classics CD of Benjamin Britten's Violin Concerto. We are talking anything but "I can whistle that off the top of my head" music.

I was stunned by the system's wonderfully illumined, airy sound. The depiction of soundstage width and depth, from a Thrax Audio Maximinus Silver DAC ($39,500) that upsamples Red Book to 24/192, was the best I encountered at T.H.E. Show. Highs were lively, bass full, etc. But there was something else—something beyond and above the checklist. Both sound and music were mesmerizing. Absolutely mesmerizing. I hung on every note. I did not want the music to stop.

When the concerto concluded, Greg Beron proceeded to his United Home Audio Super Deck ($90,000) with the intention of playing even more music. I didn't want more. I was sated. More sated than I've rarely been at an audio show. Only some of Peter McGrath's demos on Wilson/dCS /and either D'Agostino, VTL, or Audio Research equipment have left me in as much awe. And 300Bs have a very different and distinctive sound, at least through this equipment chain—one that is unlike anything I've heard in person, but so beautiful and full and captivating nonetheless that I, for once, couldn't have cared less.

A tie, with Scott Walker Audio, for Best Sound at Show, with Common Wave's Qln/Nagra, Sunny Components' CH Precision/Stenheim, and Wynn Audio's Kalista/Karan/Vimberg rooms not far behind. And there were a few others that, with different music, might have carried me away.

windansea's picture

gorgeous speakers (the burl veneers) and fine choice of music. Wish I'd heard this system.

Jack L's picture


Out of curiosity, Oz knows you prefer lighter music like violin concertos instead of 'fireworks', like The Rite of Spring, Pictures at an Exhibition ??

Jack L

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I frequently use The Rite of Spring in my reviews, and I also use big orchestra pieces by Strauss and Mahler, to name but two. Of late I've been playing the opening of Also spruce Zarathustra. But I do not use the same recordings that have been on the approved-for-audiophiles lists for the past 50 or 70 years. If you check out my recent Record of the Month, you'll know whose recently released recording I prefer for the latter.